When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided guidance by a cloud in the day and fire at night. The cloud settled on the tabernacle when they were supposed to stay. They always knew where God wanted them at any moment in time because of His way of guidance. When the cloud lifted from the tabernacle, the Israelites packed up and moved with God leading the way. After crossing over to the Promised Land, God went before them and drove out the other nations. The Israelites had gained God’s favor from the first call of Abraham out of the country of his birth. God showed him the land that He would give His family. And God was faithful to fulfill the promise. The promise had nothing to do with the one who received the promise but the One who gave the promise. God’s goodness is the only reason that the Israelites had what they did. It was all about God’s glory being revealed.
Wouldn’t faith be easy if we could see God’s guidance so visibly? But faith is not about seeing, but believing in something that has yet come to pass. Some days I long for a cloud to guide me or see a burning bush to tell me the things I need to do. I know we have something better. We have the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. But sometimes, I don’t hear His voice or feel His presence guiding me. I was reading the passage this week from Numbers about God moving the camp of Israelites from one place to another with the cloud by day and the fire by night. The desire once again came over me to have that type of guidance.
In my quiet time yesterday morning, Psalm 25 was used to illustrate God’s timing and the importance of waiting for His guidance. We are told that God’s ways and timing are not ours. Charles Stanley wrote in his devotional the requirements of waiting are faith, humility, patience and courage. The courage comes when we have pressure to act we wait upon God instead of following the wrong advice. “You cannot charge ahead with your own plans and at the same time be fully surrendered to God.” When doors of opportunity come, we always have to see if the opportunity is from God. The opportunity may come from our enemy which keeps us from the path that God wants us to take upon His time. The enemy likes to keep us distracted and away from God’s plan. Psalm 25:2 is a prayer from David about keeping his enemies from triumphing over him. David humbles himself before God; knowing that he is totally dependent on God. There is nothing that David desires that doesn’t come from God.
We don’t know the future. Our plans will ultimately fail if they are not in alignment with God’s will. We come back to faith. Our faith requires stretching and taking a few risks even when it seems wrong in the short-term. Decisions about the future are very scary. And I am at that place right now. I keep asking God to show me His ways and I want to make sure the opportunity that is before me is from God and not a distraction keeping me from doing the things God has in mind. I want to align with God’s plan. But I also don’t want to stay when God is obviously saying to move. Decisions at cross roads are important to wait upon clear direction from God. It’s not always a choice between right or wrong. Sometimes the decision is between good and best. David knew the secret to a successful life. Humbleness. Prayer. And thankfulness for all God has done. Things we all need to learn on this side of heaven!
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5